THE ROLE OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN SOCIO-ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: CASE STUDY OF LIMBE COUNCILS
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This project titled “The role of local government in socio-economic development: case study of limbe councils” is centered on the contributions of local governments to the development of rural areas.
The research project had two objectives; first was to identify the provisions of the new 2019 decentralization law towards the socio economic development of councils, and the second was to examine he challenges confronting local government administration towards the execution of socio economic activities.
The method used in collecting data was Questionnaires. Finally, a conclusion was made based on the analysis of the data collected on the field, that is, the contributions of the Limbe Local Government to the development of the area. There should be improvement in the allocation to the local government to meet up with their responsibilities.
Limbe is the sub-divisional headquarters of Fako division of Cameroon and one of the cleanest towns in Cameroon, The outlook of Limbe portrays the effectiveness of the role of the councils in socio-economic development
Local government is viewed as a semi-autonomous area which is formed under the constitution or general laws of a state to carryout functions within a specified geographical area. Agbakoba (2004:P.12) stated that the local government is an administrative and political unit that is vested with the powers under law to govern a specified locality. Its philosophy is entrenched on the idea of grassroots level participation in government
Local governments (LGs) play a vital role in the socio-economic growth of their Municipality.
As representatives of local economic development (LED), local governments work with the citizens of their communities (hereinafter referred to as municipalities) to create strategic visions for the future of their cities, towns and villages and to enact a wide range of policies and initiatives to bring these visions to life.
At the most basic level, local government ensures a safe and prosperous atmosphere in which economic growth will take place.
They have physical infrastructure such as highways, water supply, waste management, information and communication systems and support public health, education and environmental sustainability. However, local government is gradually moving far beyond these conventional positions.
As defined in the accompanying research paper, local governments around the world are helping existing businesses to thrive and grow, fostering new enterprises, organizing labor development projects, encouraging research and development, and taking steps to ensure that disadvantaged members of their communities have access to decent livelihoods UCLG (2014:P.8).
Understanding the foundations of modern local government is crucial to comprehending its historical creation and evolution. Local government did not arise as a logically established system of administration for a logically defined set of services; rather, it arose piecemeal as a solution to a sequence of the society’s different needs and demands.
The origins of modern city government can be traced back to the libertarian revolutions of the early nineteenth century. In the implementation of local government structures in European countries, the desire to get government closer to the people was a powerful ideological factor.
Community self-government was seen as an emblem of societal liberty. The development of local self-government in the first half of the twentieth century in Scandinavia, as well as other countries such as the United States of America and the United Kingdom, was a reaction to the central government’s interference into the affairs of local communities (Smellie, 1994, p.16).
The growth of local government is inextricably related to the industrialization movement that started in Britain in the mid-eighteenth century. Since the needs of citizens were considered to be limited and their duties were mainly judicial and administrative, the structure of local government through collaboration in the justices of peace in the countries had performed fairly satisfactory until the beginning of the 19th century.
The invention of machinery and the factory mode of manufacturing, as well as the comparative reduction of reliance on subsistence, brought the first major period of urbanization in the history of the United Kingdom to a close in the mid-nineteenth century production of agriculture
In general, today’s municipal government governance offers a forum for legitimate citizen engagement in political affairs at the grass-roots level. People become engaged citizens as a result of their interaction with the state, rather than being viewed as mere subjects.
Local government is the most open to the public because it is the nearest to them, and people can connect to local governments more than they can to the federal government. Decentralized administrative regions pave the way for greater cooperation between residents and government authorities.
Local government is important because it includes people of local public relations, not just those who are elected but also the population at large, who elect them and to whom they are essentially accountable. Barber was born in 1972.
Local governments, according to Francesco Kjellberg, exist because they are seen as significant instruments for citizen participation in public relations. It is a mechanism for bolstering democracy in society as a whole.
Active public engagement in civic politics is both an aim of and an instrument for improving democracy in society at large, according to the democratic ideal in local government. Second, engagement offers a legitimate ability to impact actions that concern daily life; it fills the divide between rulers and governed. Second, it allows for political education to take place.
Decentralized local government remains one of the most successful global solutions for eradicating underdevelopment and economic backwardness in developed countries like Cameroon (Dijk 2008; Crawford and Hartman 2008; Crawford 2008; Crawford 2004).
Since the early 1980s, when globalization and good governance arose as major paradigms shaping government policy and growth agendas, it has been hypothesized that rural poverty-stricken communities could partner with local government authorities to achieve the goals of rural community change and poverty reduction through the mechanism of decentralized local governance (See: Inkoom 2011; Conyers 2007; Robinson 2007; Robinson 2004).
After the September 1999 annual meetings, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) made poverty reduction and rapid growth mandatory conditions for developing member countries.
International actors have consistently noted that the most credible citizen members are often found in local-level government structures that endure or arise to provide basic security and order in dangerous, lawless conditions. It’s not unusual that foreign mediators have tried to include local governments and politicians in peacemaking efforts.
Community-driven reconstruction in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Kyamusugulwa et al, 2014, P.813), Republic of Yemen (Grandvoinnetet al, 2015, P.259), and Ghana 1992 local governance structures in conflict and post-conflict settings have not only established basic law, stability, and routinized dispute resolution, but have also helped to solidify inter-communal relations.
Case studies from Syria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Sierra Leone illustrate tangible local attempts at inclusive grassroots organisation and self-rule that have attempted to overcome the most disruptive and persistent combat.
For millions of people stuck in zones of protracted violent conflict and ruptured authority, local governance arrangements are the only means of security and or self-rule. This has gained some local governance arrangements “performance legitimacy” among their communities,
In violent environments, legitimate local government systems function because they advance common communal interests in law, order, protection, disaster risk management, and basic service access. These are true, fundamental needs that cut across fault lines and inspire societies to work together for mutual benefit.
Local government systems often normalize dispute over resources (which are traditionally modest at the local level) in ways that reduce the possibility of renewed violence.
Governmental practices are occurring throughout the world. The role of Local governance in socio-economic development, in particular, has become a concern in many countries. Processes such as re democratization and decentralization and imperatives of international lending agencies have focused attention on developing good governance practices.
The interest in governance is, in part, a reaction to the realization that enhancing the government’s ability is not, by itself, sufficient to ensure better results from government action.
Improving local government remains a high priority in most countries, but unless the relationship between citizens and government is more fully established, the acts of local government will not necessarily lead to a change in people’s living conditions Wilson (2000, P.53).
The paper will discuss the concept of local government and the role of local governance in socio-economic development and suggest a theoretical framework for the study of local governance in an international context.
This paper will explore the concept of governance and propose an analytical framework for the study of local governance in an international context. Governance has come to be used as a normative proposition, as will be discussed below.
The characteristics associated with good governance include free and open elections, the rule of law with the protection of human rights, citizen participation, transparency and accountability in government, among others. For those interested in government practice, these normative values and goals are helpful Wilson (2000).
Local economic growth is a critical supplement to national efforts. National and supranational governments must resolve economic concerns specific to their territories, such as fiscal and monetary policy, significant infrastructure projects and foreign trade agreements UCLG (2014, P.12).
Local economic development activities have drawn a great deal of interest from academics in both Western and Eastern European transforming countries.
The role of these practices in strengthening the national economy is considered to be important (Blair, 1999). It is closely linked to the important role of governments at the microeconomic level in improving the various aspects of local economy competitiveness (e.g. Porter, 2000).
This study follows a more realistic approach to local economic growth, emphasizing the critical position of creating new jobs and businesses, or at least maintaining existing jobs and businesses, as well as a sustainable economic transition at the local level.
Although the private entrepreneurial sector’s activities are the main sources of local economic development, it has long been accepted that local government interests and interventions in this field are increasing (e.g. Bovaird, 1993).
The most pressing it is in a case of local governments in touch with all consequences of local economic stagnation or decline. They could perhaps concentrate mostly on acceleration of local economic development, the activation of all local subjects, the development of cooperative local climate, the mobilization of external resources and the generation of a certain level of sustainable endogenous development.
The activities studied include the most frequently mentioned LED initiatives such as development planning, employment, business development, development of human resources, shaping the institutional environment, as well as more standard tools based on land and infrastructure, capital and financial incentives, marketing and promotion activities, partnership practices (e.g. according to Bennett, Krebs, 1991; Parysek, 2001; Blakely, Bradshaw, 2002).
Slow progress in this field in Slovakia is reflected in less attention to this issue in research. More general conditions of local economic development addressed Žárska (1996). Large-scale research focusing on local self-government tools applied in local economic development completed Čapková (2001a-c) on sample of more than 30 cities.
It brings valuable results concerning especially application of economic tools, elaboration of strategic and conceptual documents, activities in employment. Certain aspects of local economic development also addressed Kling and Pilát (2003) and Bruček (2003).
Looking at the constitutional revision of 18th January 1996 constitution, constitutes a major decisive turning point in the decentralization process of Cameroon which went further to give powers to some local government authorities to carry out development in their communities.
The constitution instituted the second category of regional and local authorities known as the regions. In a bid to implement these constitutional reforms, three important laws were recently passed in 2019. These laws are: law Law N°2019/024 of 24 December 2019 on the bill to institute the general code of regional and local authorities.
With the promulgation of this law, there was a need to enhance their harmonious implementation. It is in this light that the ministry of territorial Administration and decentralization conducted all to ease local government in their autonomy.
According to law Law N°2019/024 of 24 December 2019 on the bill to institute the general code of regional and local authorities (refers to the transfer of power from the central government to representative and downwardly accountable actors, such as elected local governments.
Ribot, (2002) and N°2009/011 of 10 July 2009 relating to the Financial Regime of Regional and Local Authorities (RLA), Regional and Local Authorities are corporate bodies governed by public law and are endowed with a legal personality as well as administrative and financial autonomy with respect to the management of regional and local interests.
The 2019 laws cited above, precisely in article 2 provide that the local authorities of the Republic shall be regions and councils.
They shall carry out their activities with due respect for national unity and solidarity, territorial integrity and the primacy of the State. Local authorities shall have equal status. No local authority may establish or exercise control over another.
The Limbe municipality is a local council in the English speaking part of Cameroon, this local council benefits from the special status provided under the 2019 bill to institute regional and local authorities, the law provide in Section 3:
(1) that the North-West and South-West Regions shall have a special status based on their language specificity and historical heritage. ·
(2) The special status referred to in sub-section (1) above shall be reflected with regard to decentralization, in specificities in the organization and functioning of these two regions.
Subsection (3) provides that the special status shall also entail respect for the peculiarity of the Anglophone education system and consideration of the specificities of the Anglosaxon legal system based on common law.
The 2019 law also provide for empowerment of local councils with function such as: social care, health care, promoting economic development, culture and sport development with the aim of promoting local development and good governance which as well aims at achieving developmental goals
Thus this study seeks to examine specifically the role of Limbe councils and generally council’s in Cameroon towards socio-economic development. However, it’s yet to ascertain whether local council administration is a myth or reality in the increasing challenges to socio-economic development in Cameroon
This paper explores the central role of local governments (LGs) in socio-economic growth. Its goal is to identify the policy directions urgently required by national and supranational governments, international development partners and LGs themselves to help them to fulfill this role effectively for their people. Corruption, lack of accountability, and above all lack of decentralization has prevented or impeded socio economic development of most municipalities in Cameroon.
It should be remembered that socio-economic growth is not an end in itself, but an essential means of enhancing people’s well-being. As Amartya Sen have argued, the essence of growth is the growing ability of people to live a life they want.
The job of economic development practitioners is to help make this possible. There are many important implications for this view of creation. Socio-economic development is, as essential as it may be, not just economic growth. In order to be developmental, it must be inclusive, offering resources and opportunities for those concerned UCLG (2016:P.22)
The problem identified in this work therefore is the fact that socio-economic development of some government is not always inclusive and doesn’t cover the entire local government area or the municipality. This view of socio-economic development has several important implications.
Socio-economic development is not only economic growth, important as that may be. To be developmental, it must be inclusive, providing supports and opportunities for those who are typically marginalized, particularly women, youth, indigenous people, ethnic minorities, and people with disabilities.
Socio-economic development must also be environmentally sustainable, ensuring that future generations have the same opportunities as those alive today.
And economic development must be informed by cultural policies that enhance the capacity of people to assign meaning and purpose to their participation in the social and economic life of their community. The lack of autonomy is also another problem identified in this thesis
The research question comprises the main and specific research questions.
What role does local government play in socio-economic development?
The specific research questions of the study are:
- What are the provisions of law No 24/2019 ensure socio-economic development in Limbe municipality
- Is there a relationship between the autonomy of local government and the role of local government in socio-economic development of the Limbe municipality in Limbe municipality
- What are the challenges and obstacles faced by the Limbe City council in carrying out socio-economic development?
The objectives of the study comprise the main and specific objectives.
The main objective of the study is to bring out the role of local government in socio-economic development in limbe city council.
The specific objectives of the study are to:
- To identify the provisions of law No 24/2019 in ensuring socio-economic development in Limbe municipality
- To assess the relationship between the autonomy of local government and the role of local government in socio-economic development of the Limbe municipality
- To evaluate the challenges and obstacles faced by the Limbe City council (local government) in carrying out socio-economic development?